7 Dec 2018

Woman who pimped out teenager jailed

6:26 pm on 7 December 2018

An Auckland woman who pimped out a 14-year-old has been jailed for two and a half years.

Monika Rachael Kelly, 21, appeared in the High Court at Auckland this morning.

Monika Rachael Kelly, 21, appeared in the High Court at Auckland this morning. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Monika Rachael Kelly, 21, appeared in the High Court at Auckland for sentencing this morning after pleading guilty to a charge of sexually exploiting the teenager.

Kelly was a 19-year-old solo mother when she prostituted the 14-year-old, who had run away from home, to make some cash.

She met the teenager through a mutual friend and asked if she wanted to be a prostitute for her, having briefly been a sex worker herself.

The victim lived with her for six weeks and during this time Kelly created a profile for her on the smartphone app used by sex workers called Seeking Arrangement. She gave the girl an alias and amended her date of birth.

Justice Downs said Kelly then prostituted the 14-year-old to a man - known only as Male A - four times between March and April last year.

"You negotiated with Male A. For example his second occasion with the victim was to last 90 minutes. You agreed on the price of $350. The third occasion was to be a quickie only and you agreed on a lesser price of $200."

Justice Downs said the man had full sexual intercourse with the victim, but Kelly was prepared to go further.

"On two occasions you agreed another man or additional men could accompany male A and have sexual intercourse with the victim too but this never happened. On one occasion you also agreed Male A could film the victim. It is unknown if he did."

Kelly was told by both the victim and their mutual friend that the teenager was 14-years-old.

And when first hearing about a police investigation, she met with those who knew about her offending and asked them to lie for her.

Justice Downs said he had read a victim impact statement written by Kelly's now-16-year-old victim.

"The victim says you took her in during a challenging time in her life and exploited her. She felt trapped and constantly put in situations of extreme discomfort and places she did not want to be.

"The victim also says those at her school [who] know what happened treat her differently and cannot look at her. She struggles to trust people and cannot now be alone in a room with a male."

Justice Downs noted Kelly's offence - dealing in a person aged under 18 for sexual exploitation - had only been around since 2005.

As result of this, there were few cases to go by but the Judge said the case of Kasmeer Lata - who prostituted her own daughter for 18 months - was a more serious example of exploitation.

Justice Downs said Kelly had talked about her own troubles, describing her home life as "difficult".

"You told the writers of reports I have read your parents used drugs and your mother abused you physically and emotionally. You were also sexually assaulted by a stranger when you were 14-years-old.

"You report suffering anxiety and depression. In your last year of high school you became pregnant. Your child's father did not support you, nor apparently did your own."

Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield asked for a sentence of home detention to consider the compelling personal circumstances that drove his client's offending.

"This is a position in my submission where you have a 19-year-old solo mum struggling personally and financially with the various issues that she has, taking in the victim in this case and then the two have engaged in this offending."

Mr Mansfield said in no way was he implying that the victim was at fault, but added his client's past and present situation warranted consideration.

Justice Downs said while he accepted Kelly was under financial pressure, few would have resorted to what she had done.

Kelly silently wept throughout the hearing, but as she was jailed for two and a half years she burst into tears.